BAE has received repeat orders for the M777 lightweight howitzer from the US and Canadian Armies worth around $118m.

The US will purchase 38 guns for the marines and army while Canada wants 25 more guns through the US Foreign Military Sales programme to add to the 12 it already has in service.

Both countries operate M777s in Afghanistan where the airlift capability of the weapon has made it ideal for the environment.

Co-developed with Global Combat Systems, the ‘smart’ Excalibur round fired by the M777 is accurate enough to target individual rooms within a building, reducing the chance of innocent casualties and allowing supporting fire to be brought down much closer to friendly troops.

Global Combat Systems’ artillery programme director Ian McMillan said that the company expected more orders through 2009.

“We are also looking forward to establishing long-term partnering arrangements with US Government military depots to undertake future reset and overhaul activities,” McMillan said.

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The M777 is the world’s first artillery weapon to make widespread use of titanium and aluminium alloys, which provide a considerable reduction in weight.

Global Combat Systems, the BAE company responsible for final integration and testing, has also received a $3m contract to ‘reset’ 33 US howitzers returning from operations in Afghanistan. This refurbishment work will be undertaken at the Hattiesburg facility.